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Society is divided in to the economic base and the superstructure. The economic system shapes the rest of society; capitalism shapes education. Two main social groups: ruling class and subject class. (bourgeoisie and proletariat) Ruling class own the means of production and exploit the subject class. Subject class only own their labour and rent it to the ruling class for wages. The relationship between the classes is one of dependency and conflict – the proletariat must sell their labour and the bourgeoisie are dependent on this.
Class differences became stronger in the UK in the late 20th Century. The top 10% of the population have seen massive increases in their incomes whilst those on the lowest incomes have seen virtually no rise. Between 1979 and the 1990s, privatisation and the decline in union influence led to a widening of the gap between rich and poor.